St. Francis de Sales Dedicated in 1908
On November 1908, three bishops and an abbot dedicated St. Francis de Sales Church, “the Cathedral of South St. Louis”. Built to serve the growing German Catholic population in St. Louis, the huge church would become the home to many families including my great grandparents, Eduard and Magdalena Mosblech, and their 14 children.
The St. Louis Archdiocese dedicated the church with great fanfare on a major United States holiday. Bishop Jansen of Belleville, Illinois officiated the dedication ceremony. 1908 was still the era of the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church. Bishop Kondelka of Cincinnati, Ohio officiated the mass.
Two sermons were delivered on this day. Bishop Meerschaert of Oklahoma delivered the sermon in English. Abbott Ignatius of Arkansas delivered the sermon in German, which would be the primary language of the sermons at St. Francis de Sales Church.
The 220 feed wide, 78 feet long church could seat 1,400 people. It’s spire was the tallest in St. Louis at 287 feet. Previously St. Alphonsus the Rock Church had the tallest spire.
My great grandparents began attending this church around this time. All their children including my grandmother Alvina Ellis were baptized at this church.
In November 1938, my grandparents were married at this church. A great deal of our families’ faith heritage is tied to this beautiful building.
109 years later, St. Francis de Sales Church is an oratory run by the Institute of Christ the King Priest, who are dedicated to preserving the Latin Mass. When I recently attended a mass in March 2017, the church was full. My strong hope is this church will be preserved for future generations.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 22, 1904 edition, p. 24